DiscoveryNews leaves me rooted to the spot with a sprouting fascination in the latest medical implant – bones made from wood:
The researchers chose wood because it closely resemble the physical structure of natural bone, “which is impossible to reproduce with conventional processing technology.”
To create the bone substitute, the scientists start with a block of wood — red oak, rattan and sipo work best — and heat it until all that remains is pure carbon, which is basically charcoal.
The scientists then spray calcium over the carbon, creating calcium carbide. Additional chemical and physical steps convert the calcium carbide into carbonated hydroxyapatite, which can then be implanted and serves as the artificial bone.
Wood-based implants would have several advantages over traditional titanium or ceramic implants, says Tampieri. Since their physical structure is more spongy than solid, like many metal or ceramic implants, live bone should grow into wood-derived bone substitute quicker and more securely.